The Detroit Red Wings took another step in the remaking of their coaching staff under head coach Jeff Blashill. After losing assistant coach Tony Granato to the University of Wisconsin, and moving his colleague Pat Ferschweiler to the press box, they have promoted Jeff Salajko to replace longtime goalie coach Jimmy Bedard. After 18 seasons with the Red Wings, Bedard’s contract was not renewed after this past season.
“We need change,” general manager Ken Holland told MLive.com “We’re still trying to figure out exactly how we’re putting the staff together. Jeff (Blashill) felt he wanted to put together a different staff, felt it was time for some change.”
Salajko has been with the Wings organization for the past three seasons, serving as goaltending development coach for Grand Rapids. The Griffins made it to the Calder Cup playoffs in good part off the goaltending tandem that he had put together. Goalies Tom McCollum and Jared Coreau both finished the season in the top 10 in goals-against average and save percentage.
Salajko also worked extensively with the Red Wings’ young goaltender Petr Mrazek during the 2013-14 season in Grand Rapids. This could offer a pretty strong indication into Blashill’s and management’s confidence in the young netminder for the Wings’ future.
Originally from Kitchener, Ontario, Salajko was a 10th-round pick of the San Jose Sharks in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. He played professionally for eight seasons, with 11 different teams in four different leagues, but was never able to break that barrier into the NHL. Before retiring prior to the 2003-04 season he had compiled a 148-125-31 record and 12 shutouts over his 323-game pro career.